November 21, 2014

7 great MOOCs for techies -- all free, starting soon!
Big data, open source software, security -- these are some of the IT skills most in demand today and for the near future. Fortunately, free classes, in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are available to help you keep pace with these and many other IT-oriented subjects. Offered by top universities as well as online education platforms (often in partnership), IT MOOCs can help you keep your skills sharp and resume updated. ... If you don't find what you want here, browse the lists of other courses offered by these institutions, or check our last MOOC roundup for ideas. Then log on and start learning.

Retired CIOs: 5 Rewarding Second Acts
Is there life after information technology leadership? You bet. While some "retired" CIOs immediately dive back into the industry as consultants to those currently serving as CIOs, others decide it's time to do something completely different. InformationWeek specifically went looking for people who had an interesting "Second Act" story to tell. Of our five examples, one is embarking on a career of voiceover work and acting after years of using funny voices to amuse his colleagues. Another is working almost as hard as a volunteer civic leader as he did in his former profession (but without the stress of worrying about the next system outage). Several are actively trying to relax but are still active as volunteers.

Smartphone Encryption – What Does it Mean to You?
As forensic experts we truly understand the probative value of the data and metadata contained on smartphones. These devices are routinely imaged, preserved and analyzed as part of the discovery process in cases where communications are directly or indirectly related to the underlying issues. The data and metadata automatically stored on smartphones can include entire email chains, geographical locations, contacts, logs of who was texted or called, and a host of other information depending on what apps were installed and used (see “Alternative Keyboard apps: Too risky for your smartphone?”).

Digital Transformation and IT: The CIO´s balancing act
We live in times of accelerated change. Smart and innovative challengers leapfrog industry borders and disrupt business models, selling digital services into former physical product markets and leaving established market leaders perplexed and behind. The digital Darwinism predicts that not the strongest (market leaders), but those companies that are able to adopt change the fastest, will survive. And as an example - the arrival of the smartphone taught us that torch producers and camera producers, for example, ended up between a rock and a hard place. Their business model was disrupted from outside the niche. Smartphones disrupted several other businesses and will keep doing so – financial credit card organizations are next in line.

Are Telepathy Experiments Stunts, or Science?
In a paper published last week in the journal PLOS One, neuroscientists and computer engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle described a brain-to-brain interface they built that lets two people co√∂peratively play a simple video game. Earlier this year, a company in Barcelona called Starlab described transmitting short words like “ciao,” encoded as binary digits, between the brains of individuals on different continents. Both studies used a similar setup: the sender of the message wore an EEG (electroencephalography) cap that captured electrical signals generated by his cortex while he thought about moving his hands or feet.

Smart guns: Can tech bring transparency to law enforcement?
Technology like Yardarm's could be beneficial in creating change without changing federal or state regulations. The company was founded just five months after the Sandy Hook shooting. ... "We're not a bunch of gun guys figuring out how to put tech in guns," Schaff said. "We're a bunch of tech guys trying to figure out how to put tech in guns." The team received a lot of messages from interested organizations like private security firms, police forces, and foreign governments, who wanted more information -- more data -- to use as evidence, and more ways to monitor the safety of officers out in the field.

Lost Devices Cause 68 Percent of Health Care Data Breaches
A recent study by Bitglass shows just how much damage the insider threat can cause. In its 2014 Healthcare Breach Report, Bitglass discovered that 68 percent of the data breaches in the health care industry since 2010 were caused by lost or stolen devices. The survey results nearly mirror a study conducted by theCalifornia Attorney General’s Office, which found that 70 percent of compromised health records were the result of a lost or stolen device. This is not to say that cybercriminals aren’t doing any damage. Almost a quarter of breaches in the health care industry are caused by hackers infiltrating the network.

Is your Java application hostile to JIT Compilation?
The key point about JIT compilation is that Hotspot automatically monitors which methods are being executed by the interpreter. Once a method has been called often enough it is marked for compilation into machine code. These "hot methods" are compiled by a JVM thread in the background. Until this compilation finishes, the JVM keeps running - using the original interpreted version of the method. Only once the method is fully compiled does Hotspot patch the method dispatch table to point to the new form. Hotspot has a large number of different optimization techniques for JIT compilation - but one of the most important for our purposes is inlining.

Healthcare Interoperability: Who's The Tortoise?
"It's very easy to point fingers at folks. People underestimate how challenging this work is," Sawyer told InformationWeek. "I think the vendors are being cautious before spending lots of research and development money before a standard is more clearly defined." Some EHR systems, like Epic, were designed long before cloud and APIs, executives said. Others leveraged newer technologies like cloud and APIs from the start. But clinicians and patients want them all to exchange files with one another -- just like financial firms, which enable consumers to withdraw funds from any ATM, regardless of bank. Or like Amazon, which lets consumers browse and order items from stores -- both Amazon and other sellers -- via one platform.

CIOs make progress, but still get no respect
Fair or not, the body of research described here is compelling. For this reason, every CIO should consider the possibility that some of their peers and management share views presented by the data. The solution is spending more time with business departments and leaders, learning nuances of their needs and goals. As CIO, delegate the technology to staff while you focus on solving business problems around the company.

Quote for the day:

"Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is the best teacher." -- John Maxwell

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